Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Impeachment inquiry continues to get at the truth while Trump and GOP call it witch hunt

Kiev, Ukraine
Donald Trump's hatred of the beautiful country of Ukraine may grow stronger as his impeachment inquiry continues to uncover damning evidence from witnesses familiar with the Ukraine meeting.

Although there have been plenty of other reasons for the impeachment of Trump, the phone meeting with Ukrainian President Zelensky has been the subject that initiated the formal impeachment inquiry by Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats.

Trump and his zealous Republican loyalists have given their own classification of the impeachment inquiry.  According to them it's a "witch hunt," "bull," "a joke," "a lynching" and "a scam."

They believe the Democrats are trying to overthrow the 2016 election.  So they are spending money  on ad campaigns to smear the impeachment investigation.  Trump has so far committed at least $1 million to ad campaigns to lie to the American people about it.

Trump and his supporters present no evidence that would prove Trump innocent of the claims of the whistle-blower and the multiple corroborating witnesses who have been testifying in Congress.  There is only the party line that they expect us to believe, even though they have been caught in their lies thousands of times.

It seems the Ukraine venture by the Trump organization is much more complex than we first thought.

It has been reported that before he resigned, John Bolton warned the administration that Rudy Giuliani may be too closely involved in the Ukraine situation.  Not being an official government statesman, this would be an illegal activity for Giuliani.

Kurt Volker, Envoy to Ukraine, testified that Trump requested military aid to Ukraine to be held up.  Giving testimony on Trump's thinking about Ukraine, he said that Trump believed (or said he believed) that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election.  Volker also had text messages that showed that Trump and Giuliani pushed Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.

Bill Taylor testified that Trump would withhold military aid to Ukraine until they publicly announced an investigation into the Bidens.

Catherine Croft, who reported to Ukraine envoy, Kurt Volker, testified that Trump told Mulvaney to hold off on Ukrainian aid.  She also testified that Trump was pressured by Giuliani to remove Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovich.  Yovanovich herself testified that there was a concerted effort by the Trump administration and Rudy Giuliani to remove her for questionable motives from her position as Ambassador to Ukraine.

Christopher Anderson, also a report of Kurt Volker, testified that the White House blocked a condemning formal statement by the State Department regarding a 2018 incident where Russia seized a Ukrainian vessel.  Anderson also testified that he attended the meeting where John Bolton warned the White House of the interference of Giuliani in Ukrainian affairs.

Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, a Ukrainian expert, testified that Trump and the White House omitted details about the quid, pro quo regarding dirt on the Bidens from their telephone meeting summary. As the Ukraine expert, he attended the meeting held in Ukraine with Energy Secretary Perry.  After the meeting he was told by the White House staffer Fiona Hill that he would not be invited to the debriefing of the meeting and was instead replaced by a former Devin Nunes staffer, Kashyup Patel.  Patel has no knowledge of Ukraine.

The witnesses corroborating testimony is getting to the facts that even Trump loyalists cannot deny.  We are fortunate that there are still some patriots left in government.  Trump attempts to pervert the truth with such statements as "the Ukraine meeting was perfect!" and "no quid, pro quo!" But these are falling apart with the barrage of witnesses who are claiming otherwise to Congress.

Let the truth cleanse this administration.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Multiple Trump officials should be impeached over the substance of Ukraine meeting

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker
Throughout his Presidency, Donald Trump gave the public many examples of his betrayal of the Constitution and denigration of the office of President.  So many of Trump's actions have been attacks on  democracy and our American way that any one of them could be a part of the articles for impeachment.

Nancy Pelosi has focused on one of Trump's recent infractions before she committed to impeaching him.  And that one was a big one.  Big in substance but also big in the number of Trump officials involved.

This recent infraction was the quid, pro quo that Trump asked from the newly elected Ukraine President.  Trump is so driven to find ways to ensure his re-election, he has not only avoided taking precautions against future Russians interference, but has also asked the Ukrainian President to dig up dirt on his Presidential challenger, Joe Biden.  Trump told Ukrainian President Zelensky that he must report on the requested investigation into Joe Biden and his son in a public announcement to be given at a White house visit, or he would not be given military aid that Ukraine so desperately needs to defend against Russia.

Just as Trump and his family asked Russia for dirt on his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, they have now asked Ukraine for dirt on his 2020 opponent, Joe Biden.  It seems when it comes to finding an illegal leg up on the competition, Trump is surprisingly consistent.

And now we find out that this plan was in effect many month's ago, when his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, his EU Ambassador, Gordon Sondland and his Energy Secretary, Rick Perry were sent to discuss related matters with Ukrainian officials.

On July 25, 2019, Trump had the infamous quid, pro, quo call with Zelensky.  Mike Pompeo was present for the call.  Trump instructed Mick Mulvaney to delay the Ukraine military aid related to the quid, pro, quo call.

If by these actions Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses, so are all of the other Trump officials that were involved.  Perry has self-impeached as he recently announced his resignation, but all the others except Giuliani should also be impeached.  Giuliani is not a federal employee but has to answer for other crimes such as not registering as a foreign agent.

As for impeachment, Donald Trump's attorneys have gone to court to have the impeachment deemed illegal since there was no formal impeachment vote in the House.  Last week Lindsey Graham introduced a resolution condemning the impeachment inquiry as illegitimate.  Republican officials  have been stymied by a judge covering the case who has determined that the inquiry being carried out by the House is legitimate and does not need a vote to continue.

However, Nancy Pelosi has announced that Democrats wanted to push back on claims by Trump that the impeachment is not valid and will hold a vote on Thursday, October 31, 2019 to establish the procedure for open hearings, dispositioning transcripts and transfer of evidence to Judiciary as they consider impeachment articles.

The impeachment will happen.  The House of Representatives has the votes for that.  However, the impeachment is not the same as removing Donald Trump from office.  It will take more Americans to register their outrage with Trump in order to convince Republicans in the Senate to vote to remove him from office.  At this point, the GOP is still solidly with Trump.

As public hearings give Americans more insight into the impeachable offenses of the Trump administration, perhaps more GOP Senators will come to their senses and save America, democracy and their own dignity.

Friday, October 25, 2019

When the Justice Department helps create a dictator

William Barr, Attorney General
Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist.  He can convince himself he is an innocent victim of any criticism, even if he knows the criticism is accurate.

Believing that he has escaped prosecution for his part in the Russian 2016 Presidential election interference, Trump has been proclaiming that the intelligence community came to their conclusions of his involvement  for partisan political reasons.  He thinks his own Justice Department is conspiring against him.

The Mueller report made it clear that Trump could have been indicted as a co-conspirator in campaign contribution violations.  It identified at least ten instances of obstruction of justice for which Trump was found responsible.  Mueller himself said that the only reason Donald Trump was not indicted was due to a policy statement of the Justice Department.  Foolishly, the Justice Department believes that they cannot indict a guilty sitting President.  Mueller left that to Congress, which has the power to remove such a President through impeachment.

Trump, due to his narcissistic delusions, believes that he can convince the general population of his innocence.  The proof he puts forward has no substance.  There are no witnesses that can vouch for him.  He doesn't have any alibi.  In fact, many of his tweets and public appearances are outright displays of obstruction or violations of the Constitution.  The written answers Trump gave to Mueller's questions were nothing more than "I do not remember" non-replies.  The facts are not on Donald's side.

That Donald Trump believes he must convince America of his innocence is puzzling.  The "heat" of the Mueller investigation is passed.  Democrats did not do a good job of making the serious conclusions of the Mueller investigation an issue for Trump.  One could say he got away with it unscathed.  So why is Trump bringing it up again?

Trump has fired most of the patriots who were in his administration that might have done something about his bad behavior.  He has replaced them by loyalists who have the power and desire to protect him.  Cowardly Republicans in Congress still stand by Trump and defend his every aberrant move.  They will likely stand by him until just before their own careers are impacted.  That day will come as more and more of the American people call for Trumps impeachment.

America will soon begin to hear more about the high crimes and misdemeanors Trump has committed that are worthy of his impeachment.  Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats will impeach him.  In the next couple of weeks, some of the impeachment interviews they are doing will become public appearances.

To my thinking, this is why Donald Trump needs to find another way to convince the American people of his innocence.  Donald will soon need a distraction from the negative news coming from Congress.  That distraction must be large enough to draw the attention of Americans away from the Congressional hearings.

An official investigation into Trump's own intelligence community will give credence to the conspiracy theories he wants us to believe.  He needs the force of the Justice Department loyalists to carry out the investigation as if it were something real.  His hand picked and proven loyalist attorney general, William Barr is just the man for the job.

Trump loyalists have so far ignored Congressional subpoenas.  They have refused to appear in front of Congress.  They have refused to give requested documents to Congress to aid their investigations.  That pretty much means these loyalists are willing to break the law and are likely to take other extreme actions in defense of Donald Trump.

Barr may think he is defending a person of integrity.  Maybe he thinks all Presidents are patriots.  Maybe he is just a fool.  In any case, Trump is counting on Barr to give the conspiracy theory life.  Now it appears that it is about to happen as tonight the Justice Department has opened a criminal inquiry into its own Russia investigation.

If the Justice Department can be used as the President's personal police force to round up political prisoners, then we have a dictatorship.  Something I believe Trump has been working toward since he was elected.

This is a serious attack on American democracy.  America must snap out of their Trump induced depression and start acting like democracy is something to save.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Will the GOP survive once Donald Trump becomes the first American dictator?

The Future Mr. President
Since Trump has gained the Presidency, America is being publicly bombarded with aberrant behavior previously
considered unacceptable by most Americans.  Some of us are outraged.  Some of us are simply not paying attention.

But there are others who are finding cover for Trump's outrageous behavior.  They are trying to convince us that Trump's violations of the Constitution and America's laws are acceptable and within the powers of the President.

Just yesterday, Trump's lawyers were in court arguing that the President could not be accused of any crime as long as he remained in office.  The judge asked Trump's personal lawyers if Trump could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and get away with it, as Trump once claimed.  The lawyer answered in the affirmative.

These are dangerous times, brought to us by the Grand Old Party. The GOP prepared for their eventual rise to power during the Obama administration.  They were convinced that they could rise to power by obstructing everything the Democratic President did for the American people and create false narratives about how bad everything was in America because of Obama.  Some may remember that they even obstructed bills that they themselves brought up if Obama favored them.  They hated Obama so much that they had television interviews where they said they considered Putin a better President than Obama.  The GOP has hated the fact that a black man could be in the most powerful seat reserved for white power. 

Some of you may still believe that the GOP was only trying to protect America by attempting to destroy the Affordable Care Act.  Maybe you believe they only meant the best or were trying to reduce fraud by removing food from the hands of children when they reduced food stamps.  Maybe you think they were only trying to find better jobs for America when they rejected the American Jobs Act that Obama wanted passed.  What reason did you find for the GOP's lack of support for an increase in the federal minimum wage?  How did you rationalize the GOP's resistance to the Fair Treatment of Women's act.

The GOP has proven over and over again that they do not support the average American.  Their recent tax scam under Trump was only meant to serve their true constituents, their million dollar campaign donors. 

A party that is concerned with all Americans does not deny services to the needy.  It should not fight against fair wages for workers.  It should not give entitlements to people who already have enough to live 1000 lifetimes.  It does not reverse regulations that protect Americans health and environment.  It does not create a budget that intends to strip medicare and social security.  And it does not find ways to divide Americans against one another.  But yet, these are the priorities of the GOP.

And now the GOP are at a crossroads.  Do they continue to find excuses for Trump and forsake American democracy for a wannabe dictator?  Or do they come to their senses and save America while at the same time saving their party?

Trump has created around himself, a circle of sycophantic loyalists. These loyalists hold most of the power in government and refuse to abide by the checks and balances of government power.  They openly refuse to obey court orders. 

Trump has a propaganda media company at his disposal in Fox News that is also culpable in the "dumbing down" of the American GOP. 

Trump is making decisions that distance our allies and partner up with the axis of evil.  Trump has created human rights abuse issues at our border.  He has sacrificed our Kurdish allies to the bombs of Turkish genocide.

Trump is seeking campaign help from Ukraine's new President asking him to create and announce a controversy around Trump's political opponent Joe Biden.  Trump will hold off on military aid until Ukraine follows through. 

Trump and his campaign has been delighted to have had help with the 2016 election from the Russians, meeting with them in secretive rendezvous.   In 2016 Trump's personal attorney announced on news shows that there would be an October surprise that was a prelude to knowledge the campaign had in regards to the DNC hacking done by the Russians.

And now Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are investigating Trump for behavior deserving of impeachment.  The GOP leadership is still siding with Trump.  Some even performing ludicrous acts in front of TV cameras.  About thirty-six of the more unstable GOP leadership, led by Matt Gaetz, have stormed a secure SCIF meeting uninvited, with iPhones blazing to defend their divine leader Trump.

Since his inauguration, Trump has thrown a long list of his former allies under the bus by either firing them or blaming them for crimes which he had no part in. (Fingers crossed.)  Here are a few:
Reince Priebus, John Kelly, Kirstjen Nielsen, Steve Bannon, Carl Icahn, Sebastian Gorka, Michael Flynn, H. R. McMaster, John Bolton, K. T. McFarland, Tom Bossert, Rob Joyce, Keith Kellogg, Fred Flitz, Fiona Hill, Rob Porter, Sean Spicer, Michael Dubke, Anthony Scaramucci, Hope Hicks, Sara Huckabee Sanders, Raj Shah, Boris Epshteyn, Michael Short, Gary Cohn, Jeremy Katz, Peter Navarro, Justin Clark, Steve Munisteri, Omarosa Manigault Neuman, Keith Schiller, Bill Stepien, Don McGahn, Ty Cobb, John Dowd, Ronny Jackson, Chris Christie, James Mattis, Patrick Shanahan, Rick Perry, Tom Price, Ryan Zinke, Jeff Sessions, Sally Yates, Dana Boente, Rod Rosenstein, Mathew Whitaker, James Comedy, Andrew McCabe, Alex Acosta, Rex Tillerson, Nikki Haley, Marie Yovanovitch, Kurt Volker, David Shulkin, Dan Coats, Richard Cordray, Scott Pruit and dozens more who were assistants or under secretaries, or deputies.

Trump supporters may not think of him as a dictator, but his actions resemble those of other dictators in history.  American democracy is only holding on by a thread right now. 

The GOP, who is in the majority in the Senate, are responsible for removing him from office, once the impeachment is transferred to them.  Up to now, the GOP leadership has defended Trump throughout all of the damaging news brought into public view. 

If the GOP fails to remove this potential dictator from office, then our last hope will be the American people's vote in the 2020 election.  Here's hoping that one of those two fail-safes prevents the end of American democracy.  My confidence in either is not very high.